What else we're reading

Baristas in leg warmers, criticism for Baby Einstein Co., Durham prosecutor Mike Nifong in hot water again, and more.

By Tracy Clark-Flory - Catherine Price
Published January 25, 2007 1:14AM (EST)

The Seattle Times: A reader, inspired by yesterday's post about sexy tutors, pointed us to this story. Apparently in Seattle, sex is being used to sell coffee. (Since when did coffee really need the help?) Here's a scene from Cowgirls Espresso in Tukwila, Wash., as the Times describes it: "In a short, sheer, baby-doll negligee and coordinated pink panties, Candice Law is dressed to work at a drive-through espresso stand in Tukwila, and she is working it. Customers pull their trucks up to the window, where Law greets each with an affectionate nickname, blows kisses, and vamps about as she steams milk for a mocha." Keep reading and you'll find Law hiking a leg onto the window sill to ask, "Do you like my leg warmers? Aren't they hot?"

The Boston Globe: Story Landis, the director of NIH's National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (and interim chairwoman of NIH's stem cell task force), suggested that America's current position on stem cell research is delaying potential cures for diseases. Apparently she was far more blunt than is usual -- which seems appropriate given President Bush's promise to veto the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2007, passed by the House of Representatives on Jan. 11.

Associated Press: Durham, N.C., district attorney Mike Nifong is in even hotter water now with the North Carolina State Bar, which is accusing him of lying to the court and withholding DNA evidence from the defense in the Duke rape case. These accusations add to lesser ethics charges of "making misleading and prejudicial comments" about the suspects. Joseph Kennedy, a law professor at the University of North Carolina, told the AP: "It's hard for me to imagine a more serious set of allegations against a prosecutor."

PRNewswire: Chris Flett, described in a press release as a "successful entrepreneur, speaker, and traitor to the male gender," is giving a talk in which he reveals "what men do in the office after women have left the room." Sounds dirty. But what Flett is really talking about actually sounds interesting (even if it smacks of "Men Are From Mars ..."): how men allegedly develop partnerships, the role of the male ego in making decisions and how men sabotage women in the corporate world.

The Hill: House Republicans are actively trying to recruit female candidates for 2008. According to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University, Democratic women outnumber Republican women by 50-21 in the House and 11-5 in the Senate. Rep. Tom Cole, the new chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, wants to see that change: "I think women candidates, as a rule, make better candidates than men," he said. "We have not put the emphasis on finding and recruiting them that we should." His rationale for women being better candidates was that they come out ahead in polls. "Given the choice between a generic man and a generic woman, voters don't have much of a preference," the article paraphrases him as saying. "But when you poll which gender is seen as more honest and hard-working and which shares your values, women come out ahead."

Salon: Post-State of the Union, the talking heads were extolling Virginia Sen. Jim Webb and, as editor-in-chief Joan Walsh writes, thanking "their lucky stars that the Dems hadn't picked somebody who'd have used his or her time to fulminate over gay marriage or other effete concerns." She writes: "The undercurrent was that Webb was standing alone in the Democratic Party, the lone man (and ex-Republican) with the cojones to stand up to Bush, lost in a sea of Nancys and Hillarys," she continues. "Watching TV Tuesday night, you'd have thought Jim Webb had to manhandle Nancy Pelosi into letting him speak, that maybe he hogtied her and put her in a closet somewhere so he could deliver the prime-time address, rather than having been the happy choice of male and female party leaders ... A lot of men seem strangely spooked by the rise of Nancy Pelosi, and the lead Hillary Clinton currently holds in the Democratic presidential field."

Slate: Apparently we weren't the only ones creeped out by the president's heralding Julie Aigner-Clark, founder of the Baby Einstein Co., as an American hero during his State of the Union address. The company produces a wildly popular series of educational videos for babies. But, as Timothy Noah writes, "no one told the president, I presume, that this profit-making scheme ignores advice from the American Academy of Pediatrics that children under 2 years of age shouldn't watch TV." Or, this proclamation from the academy: "The reality is that parents play the videos to give themselves some time to do other household chores, like cooking dinner or doing laundry. However, they shouldn't be led to believe that it helps their baby." Also in Slate, Laura Kipnis reviews Patricia Marx's "Him Her Him Again the End of Him," a satiric novel that portrays one woman's masochistic behavior toward a jerky, narcissistic man. But as much as the book parodies gender stereotypes, it also reinforces them, Kipnis argues. She also offers this rejoinder to Christopher Hitchens' contention that women aren't funny: "To the extent that women generally refrain from publicly mocking male seduction techniques (despite the comedic gold mine of material), I'd say that a bit of social gratitude is in order. It's not that women aren't funny, we're merely being polite -- perhaps too polite. But then where would heterosexuality end up if we weren't?"

Tracy Clark-Flory

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Catherine Price

Catherine Price is an award-winning journalist and author of Vitamania: How Vitamins Revolutionized the Way We Think About Food. Her written and multimedia work has appeared in publications including The Best American Science Writing, The New York Times, Popular Science, O: The Oprah Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Washington Post Magazine, Salon, Slate, Men’s Journal, Mother Jones, PARADE, Health Magazine, and Outside. Price lives in Philadelphia.

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